Blake Garden, part of UC Berkeley, is such a stunning hidden gem of a wedding venue! It’s the perfect spot for an intimate outdoor wedding ceremony in the Bay Area. 

I had the pleasure of capturing Cassidy and Julia’s nuptials at Blake Garden in the Summer of 2022 and it was so beautiful. 

As much of my work centers around both intimate weddings with fewer than 20 guests and showcasing beautiful LGBTQ+ love stories, this was such a meaningful wedding for me. 

About Blake Garden for weddings

Blake Garden is located four miles north of the Berkeley campus in the town of Kensington CA in Contra Costa County. One of the key features of the space is the spectacular 360-degree views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Views of the Bay at Blake Garden on a wedding day
Views of the Bay at Blake Garden, Kensington CA | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

Other features include its richly varied terrain, unusual rock outcrops, and mature planting. Groves of laurel, coast redwood, canary island pine, acacia, and lacebark were planted in exposed areas to protect against western marine exposure. 

Along the northern edge of Blake Garden is the redwood canyon, marked by an ever-trickling creek. My favorite of the ‘rooms’ is the Mediterranean-inspired pond with complete with koi.

There’s even an Australian hollow with a wetland area that hosts a thornless blackberry brush with a tunnel dug into its bramble. Above that area is the final room, an Islamic four-part garden that symbolizes the confluence of rivers.

The 10.5-acre property includes Blake House was previously the official residence of the president of the University of California until it was abandoned in 2008.

The Garden is owned by the university. As well as being a teaching facility, it’s a regional resource that’s open to the public on weekdays. 

Address: 70 Rincon Road, Kensington, CA 94707

Opening times (also applies to weddings): 8am – 4.30pm weekdays only

Parking: On-site; free. 

About this wedding

Cassidy and Julia had a super small ceremony with a total of 7 guests + 1 baby! We began our photography in the garden at 2:30pm on a Thursday in September. 

I met with Julia in one of the most iconic and formal areas of the garden and we awaited Cassidy’s arrival. Known as the reflection pool, this area was designed as an homage to an Italian villa. 

LGBTQ+ wedding photography at Blake Garden, UC Berkeley
Wedding photos at Blake Garden, UC Berkeley | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

Magnolia trees line the sides of the pool to create an oasis of tranquility and shade – which is also great for photos!

After their emotional first look and romantic shots, we joined the waiting family members. We quickly completed the couple’s desired formal photo groupings. 

Before long, it was time for the ceremony. The ceremony was officiated by a close family member which made it even more special. 

I love what happened next! Cassidy and Julia popped champagne and everyone said their congratulations and kind words. Then they launched into their first dance with a song playing on their Bluetooth speaker. It was so sweet! 

Blake Garden wedding photos showing cheers with champagne
Moments of congratulations and cheers at Blake Garden wedding | Photo by Zoe Larkin Photography

We rounded out our time in Blake Garden with just me and the couple taking a final set of romantic shots in beautiful locations around the grounds. 

We finished up at 4:30 as this was when the garden closes and everyone has to leave! The light was perfect for dreamy, romantic photos. Afterward, we left for the reception event at the lovely Anaviv’s Table in Richmond. 

Looking for a secret garden feel for your wedding photos? Want to surround yourself with natural beauty and fantastic views while supporting local conservation efforts? Blake Garden at UC Berkeley could be just right as your outdoor intimate Bay Area wedding venue!

Photos from Blake Garden wedding

bride waiting for first look by reflection pond in the Mediterranean area of Blake Gardenfirst look at Blake Garden wedding bride walking into Blake Garden for first look at wedding first look at reflection pond, Blake Garden Kensington CA wedding couple walking alongside reflection pool at Blake Garden wedding blake garden wedding photos with LGBTQ+ couple brides in front of old UC president building in the style of Italian villa candid photos from Blake Garden UC Berkeley wedding formal family photos at LGBTQ+ wedding at Blake Garden photojournalist wedding photos from intimate east bay wedding Blake Garden wedding ceremony photos by Zoe Larkin Photo LGBTQ+ couple getting married at Blake Garden Kensington CA wedding poignant wedding ceremony at Blake Garden UC Berkeley documentary wedding photography at LGBTQ+ wedding at Blake Garden Blake Garden Kensington CA intimate wedding ceremony guests observing intimate wedding ceremony at Blake Garden Kensington CA wedding happy moments during wedding ceremony at Blake Garden UC Berkeley congratulations and details from intimate bay area wedding venue first dance of Blake Garden Kensington CA lesbian wedding guests sipping champagne at Blake Garden UC Berkeley wedding beautiful lesbian wedding photos from Blake Garden Kensington CA wedding intimate wedding at Blake Garden Kensington CA UC Berkeley Blake Garden wedding photos couple walking through Blake Garden on their wedding day wedding details from LGBTQ+ wedding at Blake Garden wedding in Kensington CA Blake Garden wedding photos

Vendor credits

Photography: Zoe Larkin Photography

Venue: Blake Garden, UC Berkeley

Floral design: Homegrown Floral

Attire: Kirrin Finch | Robert Paul

Shoes: Bryr Clogs

Rings: Melody Jean Designs

About Zoe Larkin Photography – your Blake Garden wedding photographer 

Looking for a Bay Area wedding photographer for your wedding at Blake Garden at UC Berkeley? You can learn more about my services at the button below: 

Hoping I’ll be back at the enchanted Blake Garden soon, shooting your beautiful intimate wedding!

For similar intimate outdoor wedding venues surrounded by nature, check out some others below:

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Blake Garden  wedding photos and info about getting married in this gorgeous hidden gem in Kensington, CA
Getting married at Blake Garden, Kensington CA | Photos by Zoe Larkin Photography

Zoe Larkin

I’m Zoe, a wedding photographer based in San Francisco! My style is candid, capturing authentic moments for my couples all over the Bay Area and Northern California. Creating content is my passion! Follow along the blog and Insta!

blake garden wedding (Kensington CA)

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Blake Garden UC Berkeley Wedding

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